Bookshelf Speaker question

I want to splurge a little this coming tax-season, and want to spend between $300-500 on a set of bookshelf speakers. What would you guys recommend for my price range? I'm willing to buy used so that I can keep my options open. Right now, I'm looking at specs and reviews on the Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 or Totem Acoustic Dreamcatcher. I'm new to "better" audio, so any advice is appreciated. I listen to a lot of different types of music, so I'm looking for a speaker system that can handle almost anything. Thank you in advance.
to better answer your question:
what's the room size?
where will you place the speakers in the room?
sub or no sub?
the room is about 12x9 and its longer than it is wide. The speakers will be on stands approximately 7 feet apart and 2 feet from the rear walls and they will be mated to a sub. I have a vintage Kenwood integrated that is rated at 30wpc @ 8ohms but can handle speakers from 4-8 ohms. I have carpet on top of concrete slab, but I may be replacing it with the DIY hardwod flooring.
ok, so with your low-powered amp you need speakers with high sensitivity (e.g. 91 db or better)--at your price point i'd look at energy rc or veritas (used)or klipsch rb; triangle is also worth a listen--these are all go all-rounders.
Sorry, I disagree about 91 db or better. There are virtually no bookshelf speakers with that high a sensitivity rating. Most British bookshelf speakers will work as they are usually made with low powered British amps in mind.
I have even used Dynaudio with 30 watt Naim amp with good results. As long as you don't want to play at concert levels, you will do fine.
Consider Epos.
Second Energy...the RC-10. Super performer for the $$$!
I did some research and the wharfedales i was considering are $350 new and the totems are $525. Have any of you had experience with these brands? Are they worth it or should I just search for Energy or Klipsch as most of you are suggesting. Id like some advice on good cable in the $50-100 range. That may be a longshot, but I'll ask anyway. Thanks for the posts keep them coming I'm learning a lot here.
the wharfedales are well regarded entry level speakers--i haven't heard them enough to comment reliably.--i have owned totem rokks and heard the dreamcatchers, which are an update--they're excellent, well-balanced and probably a couple of notches above the wharfedales on the audio food chain. my concern, again, is that you're amp wouldn't drive 'em to their full potential, especially at the lower frequencies--they're relatively power hungry. hence, my earlier recommendation for the more efficient energy, klipsch, etc. just my opinion, of course--buy what sounds good to you.
Muzikat, I disagree with your assertion that high-sensitivity bookshelves aren't possible. Look at a Coincident Triumph UHS for an example. (This is one that I could recommend to the original poster, actually).

What kind of music do you tend to listen to, and what are your listening preferences? (Lean and detailed, full and lush midrange, strong bass for a bookshelf speaker, etc.)

I'm not familiar with the Wharfedales, but I have heard the Totems and was impressed by their midrange presence. I think the bass is a little one-note, and there is an exaggeration of the midbass, but the small Totem speakers do sound good to me.

Other considerations besides the Coincident Triumph UHS would include some of the NHT offerings, PSB Stratus Mini's, and Von Schweikert VR-1.

Check out Polk LSi9's.
I use a pair of quad 11L monitors in a 10' x 10' listening room. I am only running a modded dynaco st 70 (35 watts per channel) and the system has excellent soundstage and musicality.There is also plenty of bass in a small room.

The quads are rated at 86 db and 6 ohm but my 35 watts will run you out of rhe small room.

They also have a beautiful piano gloss finish and can be bought here in non active version for well under your $500 budget.

I have klipsch heresy's, klipsch kg4's and have previously owned a nice pair of early 90's snell acoustics speakers. These quad 11L's are better than any of these speakers. They image very well.

Good luck
Read my post, where did I say "aren't possible"?
I realize there are some efficient monitors. They are just not as plentiful.
Hifinewb, you say you are looking for "bookshelf" speakers. Does that mean you actually want to place them on a bookshelf? If so, there are speakers made for that application, even some very good ones, but there are not a lot of them. The best I know of come from North Creek Music, as kits, although you can also get them assembled I believe. If interested, give George Short a call and ask about the entry and mid-level models.

If what you want is smaller speakers to be placed on stands a foot or more out into the room, these are commonly called monitors ( because they are sized like the units audio engineers use to monitor their work in mixing studios ). You can get some very nice speakers made for this application too, although as Muzikat says, the high-efficiency ( or high-sensitivity ) designs are rarer. Two I like are Triangle and JM Reynaud. There might be a used pair from either of these companies around in your price range.
Based on what I've read so far, I'm narrowing my search to Energy, Klipsch, and Quad. I already own 2 pairs of Polks, both of which I'm happy with. Yeah, Tobias, I guess I meant "monitor", I've always referred to smaller speakers as bookshelf speakers, so thank you for clarifying that for me :). I listen to a lot of rock music, some classical, old hip-hop on both vinyl and CD. So out of the 3 brands I'm considering, which brand offers speakers to suit what I need, which is a good "all-round" speaker?
since i started down this path (and haven't quite finished my coffee), i'll weigh in once more, then shut up. to my ears, the energy will be more neutral, natural presentation, while the klipsch will have more dynamic slam and in-your-face quality (more of a hip-hop speaker). the quad will be a little more polite, and more sensitive to placement/elctronics. all that said, i think you'll be very happy with the energy; if, however you're going to listen to heavier stuff at louder levels, the klipsch would get my vote.
happy hunting--let us know what you get.
I have a second setup very similar to what you are proposing, except in a room with a wood suspended floor. My speakers are the paradigm mini monitors which included upgraded to better crossovers by:

The speakers are time-aligned. The high dispersion tweeters make them sound pretty good throughout the room. My goal was to have a system sound good in virtually any part of the room and these fit the bill. I have not heard the non-upgraded Paradigms.

I have measured the Paradigms using the REW software; they are pretty flat down to about 45 hz in my room without the sub (obviously the Paradigms are ported).

Very pleased with these monitors, especially at roughly $700.